Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer globally and locally and showing significant increases. The risk to South African men is 1 in 16.
A prostate is a walnut-sized gland of the male reproductive system, located just below the bladder. Prostate cancer often grows very slowly but some types are more aggressive and can spread quickly without treatment.
During the early stages, there may be no symptoms. Later, symptoms can include frequent passing of urine, especially at night; difficulty starting or stopping urination, weak or interrupted urinary stream, painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation, and blood in urine or semen. When it is advanced it can cause deep pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
Colorectal cancer or cancer of the colon is the second most common cancer, and it is estimated that 1 in 74 SA men will develop this cancer.
In the early stages, symptoms are not present. However, when they do occur, they may include:
- Change in bowel habits (diarrhoea/constipation/consistency of stools)
- Rectal bleeding or blood in stools
- Persistent abdominal discomfort (cramps, gas or pain not related to diet)
- A feeling that the bowel does not empty
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
Coming in third is lung cancer with estimates that 1 in 82 SA men will develop this cancer. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, cough, a change in sputum, chest pain, noisy breathing, hoarseness, and coughing up blood.
Smoking accounts for most preventable lung cancers, and the best way to prevent the disease is to not use tobacco products and avoid second-hand smoke.
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphoid tissue, which includes the lymph nodes, spleen, and other organs of the immune system. It is the fourth most common cancer, and it is estimated that 1 in 160 SA men are at risk of developing this cancer.
Symptoms may include night sweats, itching, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, groin, or other areas. If cancer affects the brain headaches, concentration problems, personality changes or seizures may occur. In addition, fever and chills, weight loss, abdominal pain or swelling, constipation, nausea and vomiting may also be there.
The fifth most common cancer in South African men is bladder cancer affecting 1 in 143 men. Smoking doubles the chance of bladder cancer. Blood in the urine, a change in urine colour, the need to go frequently and burning pain are some of the symptoms.
SAMWUMED Cancer Benefits
The Scheme encourages male members to reduce cancer risks through regular health examinations. The Scheme offers health examinations through its SAMWUMED Cares Wellness Programme. Click here.